Lpath, a drug developer that specializes in lipid-targeted therapeutics, is trying out something a little different: it will be working with oncology-related molecular diagnostics company Provista Diagnostics to develop cancer diagnostics using the bioactive lipid lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). Their agreement grants Provista an exclusive license to Lpath's murine LPA antibodies for use in clinical laboratory applications involving the diagnoses of cancer. Lpath will receive an up-front payment, research funding, and development milestone payments, as well as royalties on diagnostic-product revenue.
Provista will initially conduct a prospective pilot study in ovarian cancer patients, and Lpath will measure levels of LPA from patient plasma. Based on the results, additional studies may be conducted in ovarian and other cancers.
"While our ImmuneY2™ technology platform is known for generating therapeutic antibodies against disease, it also has potential utility in diagnostic settings," said Lpath president and CEO Scott Pancoast. "So by collaborating with Provista, . . . we believe we can develop tests that provide early detection of ovarian cancer and that improve treatment outcomes."
This branching out does not appear to be a sign of hard times for Lpath, as they recently ranked eighth among biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and 60th overall on the 2012 Technology Fast 500™, Deloitte's ranking of 500 of the fastest growing life sciences, technology, media, telecommunications, and clean technology companies in North America.